Coun. Jonathan Torresan. File Photo
Information from a forensic audit on the Lloydminster Facilities Corporation (LFC) indicates they owe the City of Lloydminster approximately $1-million as of April 30, 2017.
The LFC is city-owned and they operate the Lloydminster Golf and Curling Centre.
“Going through the results of it, I was very disappointed to find out that while the facilities corporation was only asking for $56,000 or roughly that amount for the last few years, that amount really wasn’t reflected on how much was actually being covered by taxpayers, so that was pretty disappointing for me,” said Coun. Jonathan Torresan.
The audit showed the LFC’s accumulated debt was a result of repeat budgeting shortfalls.
Within the audit, it also shows loans being approved by members of the board, which was not approved by council.
“You know it’s playing fast and loose with the bylaws and charter as far as what you are allowed to do. So, at the end of the day it was very disappointing to see all those things, but moving forward we know it costs more to run that facility than what’s been approved in the budgets in the past years,” said Torresan.
In early 2017 city council requested for an audit to clarify past transfers and funds.
“The audit showed there was money expended at the golf and curling centre to cover expenses, and from a budgetary perspective it wasn’t the process and procedures in place that I would like to see,” said Mayor Gerald Aalbers.
Aalbers noted the audit was able to solve a lot of questions.
“Did it answer everything? No, because now we are going to be doing an operational review that will lead to some directional recommendations that we as council and the board of directors will work through,” he said.
On average, between $125,000 to $140,000 were being spent on the facility since 2010.
Aalbers said a lot of factors went into the money spent, including the bertha armyworm infestation and economy.
“Some areas were more, some were less. Some years the golf course has done extremely well and the curling club was a very busy place. So, it varies year to year, but that’s an average,” he said.
The operational review, Torresan said, was going to be helpful for the next steps.
“It will provide us with an opportunity to look at what it’s supposed to look like, what is it supposed to cost taxpayers, and really how is it supposed to function in a more efficient and organized way so we don’t run into the issues we’ve got with this facilities corporation moving forward,” explained Torresan.
After the operational review, Aalbers said city council will have to weigh the benefits and disadvantages of the corporation.
He noted outside of the money the facility was in good shape looking at the golf course, curling rink, and restaurant.
“We have spent money on capital, and we continue to invest in it as a public recreation facility. How we operate it, stay tuned, we will be bringing that forward in due time,” said Aalbers.
The LFC was established in 2010 as a municipal body distinct in function and operation from the City of Lloydminster and is overseen by a board of directors.